guns of the Letcher Battery with a heroic courage worthy of his long lineage of illustrious sires, and his own reputation as a noble Christian soldier. His death is thus described: “The Letcher Battery still held its ground,” and, according to the ‘Annual Report of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute’—to which some of its guns were afterwards donated— “was in action one hour and twenty minutes, in a position which, from a subsequent survey of the havoc made by the enemy, would appear to have been utterly untenable for a much shorter time.” It had indeed fought with heroic valor; a caisson had exploded in their midst, yet they continued their fire as if giving a holiday salute. But did the fame it won compensate for the loss it suffered? Twenty-two, killed and wounded, lay around their guns; among the killed, Lieutenant Charles Ellis Munford. When ordered into battle that young officer had waved an adieu to friends who stood by him with so sweet a smile that none would have supposed him conscious of the danger he was plunging into. Absorbed at once by the duties of his position his eye ran rapidly over the men under his command. Among them were some who were very difficult to discipline; one, especially, seemed thoroughly hardened, not hesitating even to resist the authority of his officers. Lieutenant Munford, almost in despair of making a soldier of him, had recently put him under arrest for some grave offence. But during the fight this man displayed a most extraordinary courage: wherever the dead fell fastest there he seemed to find his duty. Noticing his gallant conduct Munford dashed up to him, seized his hand, and said: “I have come to ask you to forget what I did to you. You have shown yourself a /hero to-day; you cannot again be what you have been. Hereafter, be not the hero of a day, but of all time.” These were almost his last words before he fell; but they were “apples of gold in pictures of silver.” As by magic they thrilled the soul of the degraded man, and seemed to transform his very being. A few moments more, and the lips that uttered them were silent forever, and the countenance just now glowing with the inspiration of battle was resuming its pleasant smile and settling into the repose of death. The soldier sought and obtained permission to bear the body from the field. When he delivered his charge to the friends of the dead lieutenant, his
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.